By CONOR NICHOLL
Pittsburg opened with a 13-4 win against Chanute in Southeast Kansas League play. The Purple Dragons scored two runs in the first and second and led 5-3 after five innings. Pittsburg scored five runs in the top of the sixth and three in the seventh. The Purple Dragons delivered 17 hits.
Pittsburg senior infielder/pitcher Cooper Hayden has signed with Neosho County Community College. Hayden was also Pittsburg’s three-year starting quarterback. Hayden was a unanimous all-league selection last spring. Plus, junior Jackson Turnbull was a first team all-league pick. Senior Blaine Dunstan is returning second team all-league. Sophomore Beau Pasteur is expected to be a nice player.
After the pandemic cancelled two seasons ago, Pittsburg went 11-7 in 2021. The Purple Dragons opened the season with an 11-8 loss to Chanute and started 1-4. Overall, Pittsburg scored more than 12 runs in two games. Later in the year, Pittsburg beat Chanute, 7-6.
In 2019, Pittsburg opened 3-0, including an 11-0 win against Chanute for a 17-5 season. In ’18, the Purple Dragons posted a 16-6 year, including 12-1 and 4-3 season-opening wins versus the Blue Comets.
Pittsburg has won eight of the last nine in the series against Chanute and holds an 18-5 edge versus the Blue Comets since 2008. Pittsburg is expected to play at Fort Scott, a perennial 4A contender, in a single game Tuesday. Pittsburg split with Fort Scott in 2019 and 2021.